Letter: Client needs should come before compliance

Steven Farrell

Who do they think they are? All this approach will do is permit bureaucrats from the City regulator more interpretive leeway outside any form of sound ‘rules’. It just exacerbates the whole ‘absence of the rule of law’ problem that bedevils financial services regulation.

I was invited by the Association of Professional Financial Advisers to a roundtable meeting with the FCA about five months ago. One of the FCA’s representatives was Clive Gordon. After the rest of my colleagues – seven of them – had had the usual whinges, it struck me that all the FCA was doing was re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. My contribution to the meeting was that as ‘compliance’ was impossible and, because there was no legal certainty, all we ever could do was to look at the client and ask ourselves: “What is the right thing to do here?”, completely ignoring any compliance whatsoever. Then when we had done the right thing by our clients, we then made the compliance fit and ticked the regulator’s boxes.

Steven Farrall

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